Issue 33 – October 2023
Welcome to our spring newsletter.
The Board announced an independent review of the regulation of podiatric surgeons earlier this month. Public safety is always our priority, and it’s with this in mind that we have called for a review. In short, we want to ensure patients are receiving good information and appropriate care when they seek treatment from podiatric surgeons. Read more below about why we’ve called for the review and about Professor Ron Paterson who is leading it.
Most of you would be aware that it’s registration renewal time. You will need to make declarations about your professional obligations such as continuing professional development and recency of practice. Make sure to confirm that you have appropriate professional indemnity insurance arrangements in place. Keep an eye out for the renewal reminder emails, and be sure to renew by 30 November, before late fees apply.
Chair, Podiatry Board of Australia
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In early October the Board announced an independent review of the regulation of podiatric surgeons.
While podiatric surgeons are a small sector of the profession (41 currently hold specialist registration, which is only 0.7 per cent of the entire profession) they have a much higher rate of notifications (complaints) than podiatrists.
The independent review will look at our current regulatory framework and risks to patient safety in podiatric surgery, to identify any areas that need improving. This may include changes to professional and education standards, professional capabilities, the methods for assessing notifications about podiatric surgeons and the management of advertising offences.
Professor Ron Paterson will lead the review. Professor Paterson is a recognised international expert on patients’ rights, complaints, safety and quality and the regulation of health professions.
The public consultation is now open. The reviewer wants to hear from a broad range of stakeholders, including people who have had podiatric surgery, consumer representative groups, health practitioners, professional bodies and agencies who operate within the broader regulatory framework.
Read more in the news item, and have your say by making a submission to the consultation.
Podiatrists and podiatric surgeons have until 30 November 2023 to renew their general, specialist or non-practising registration on time.
We encourage you to renew early to avoid delays during the busy renewal period. Renewing on time also means you’ll avoid late fees which apply after 30 November 2023.
Look out for an email from Ahpra providing access to online renewal.
The registration fee for podiatry has increased by 5 per cent from $378 to $397. This will cover the registration period from 1 December 2023 to 30 November 2024.
The Board is committed to keeping fees as low as possible while ensuring we can perform our vital role to keep the public safe. This is the first increase in the registration fee since 2014, and we have kept it below indexation.
Head to the registration renewal webpage to start an online application.
If you submit your application on time, or during the following one-month late period, you can continue practising while your application is assessed.
If you don’t renew by the end of the late period, 31 December 2023, your registration will lapse, you’ll be removed from the Register of practitioners and you won’t be able to use the protected title for the profession.
Read the renewal FAQs on the Ahpra website for helpful tips and information on what you need to do to renew.
We cover common questions on professional indemnity insurance, recency of practice, continuing professional development, and what to do if you have a change in your criminal history or health impairments you need to tell us about.
The Board’s latest quarterly registration data report covers the period to 30 June 2023. At this date there were 6,038 registered podiatric practitioners, including 5,831 with general registration, 41 with both general and specialist registration, and 166 with non-practising registration.
There are 216 practitioners with endorsement for scheduled medicines.
For further data breakdowns by age, gender and principal place of practice, visit the Board’s Statistics page to read the report.
Check out our graduate video to help you get your application right.
You’ll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay and downloadable information flyers on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website.
A new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Support team (the support team) is also available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates who might need help with or have questions about their application for registration.
The support team is committed to helping graduates get registered promptly so you can start making vital contributions to safe healthcare and to your communities. If, after reading our helpful tips, you would still like help with your application for registration, please email the support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to a Justice of the Peace (JP), most registered health practitioners, public servants, teachers, lecturers and members of the legal profession can certify photographic ID documents. For the full list of authorised officers see the Certifying documents guide.
It's important that you provide correctly certified photo ID documents with your application as the wording required is specific:
‘I certify that this is a true copy of the original and the photograph is a true likeness of the person presenting the document as sighted by me.’
To get it right the first time, download the Certifying documents guide and take it with you to the authorised officer.
You may need to provide supporting documents with your application to prove that you meet the Podiatry Board’s registration standards, including meeting the English language skills requirements. Make sure you provide all the documents we need with your application so we can assess it quicker.
We can’t finalise your application until we receive your graduation results from your education provider.
If you’ve submitted everything needed to prove you’ve met the requirements for registration, we aim to finalise your application within two weeks of receiving your graduation results.
For more information, read the news item.
Cosmetic procedures, including Botox and other anti-wrinkle injections and fillers, will be under the spotlight in an expansion of Ahpra’s year-long crackdown on Australia’s cosmetic surgery industry. Stronger public safeguards are needed because of escalating consumer demand for non-surgical cosmetic procedures and more health practitioners seeking a career in the cosmetics industry.
One year on from the cosmetic surgery review, work is complete on most reforms with higher practice standards and new advertising rules for medical practitioners now in place. Further reforms will focus on the non-surgical cosmetic procedures industry with new guidelines coming for all health practitioners providing these services.
The planned overhauls are likely to place a stronger emphasis on informed consent and pre-procedure consultation, including a patient suitability assessment. There will also be a focus on prescribing and administering prescription-only cosmetic injectables.
Proposed new advertising guidelines are likely to focus on the use of ‘before and after’ images, claims about expertise and qualifications of practitioners, and affirm the ban on the use of testimonials. There will also be clear rules on the use of influencers and social media figures.
Public consultation on the proposed guidelines will open in coming months ahead of their release in the first half of 2024.
Read more in the news item.
The Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) serves and supports the international regulatory community. Its global membership promotes regulatory excellence to improve the quality and understanding of regulation to enhance public protection. At its annual educational conference in the United States, CLEAR presented an award to Ahpra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Unit (HSU), highlighting its critical role in dismantling racist behaviours and systems in healthcare.
Established in 2021, the HSU ensures that Indigenous experts lead reforms to make regulatory processes culturally safe and free from racism, and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are represented in decision making. The HSU draws on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals, practitioners, peak bodies, and race scholars to shape its transformative work.
Led by Gomeroi woman Jayde Fuller, the HSU drives Ahpra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020-2025 and its goal of eliminating racism from the health system by 2032. Ms Fuller told the conference that: ‘Culturally safe healthcare for Indigenous people has been a commitment in our organisation for six years – but we've been protecting our communities for 65,000 years and regulators can learn a lot from our survival and ways of knowing, being and doing.’
‘Healthcare should not be harmful. We are taking a strategic approach to dismantling all forms of racism – systemic, institutional and interpersonal. This includes ownership and accountability by providers, practitioners and regulators for creating safe healthcare,’ Ms Fuller said.
The CLEAR award recognises the HSU’s role in driving world-first reform to embed cultural safety and the elimination of racism in healthcare into Australian legislation. The law reforms mean that if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive care that is racist and unsafe and their complaint enters the regulatory system, cultural safety must be considered. As well, registered health practitioners are required to take steps to educate themselves on cultural safety in relation to the accessibility of their services.
The award also highlights the HSU’s work to:
Ahpra's Taking care podcast series covers a wide range of current issues in patient safety and healthcare in conversation with health experts and other people in our community. Listen and subscribe by searching for 'Taking care' in your podcast player (for example Apple Podcasts or Spotify) or listen on our website.
The latest episode is ‘Coming to a land down under: Australia as a destination for health practitioners’. This ep. examines the path overseas health workers must tread when wanting to work in Australia.
Click on the image below to visit the National Scheme's newsletter page. The next issue is due out in November 2023.